The Other Key: An inspector Julian Main mystery


Chapter Five

After about an hour, Julian was jolted from a deep sleep by the telephone ringing, like a warning.  Groggily, he looked at his watch.  2:15.  His mouth felt dry and rancid like sour wine.  Stiffly, he reached for the phone and immediately recognized his superior’s voice.

”Durocher here.  Julian, I’m sorry to disturb you at this ungodly hour, but just a short time ago, I was informed that we have a high-profile murder case on our hands.  In fact, you may know the victim.”  Dear God, prayed Julian, it’s not Chantal.  ”Her name is Louise Branson, the wealthy socialite from Westmount.  As I’m sure you know, her husband’s the well-known criminal lawyer.  He’s away in Calgary on a case.  I expect there may be pressure from the legal community to solve this quickly.”  The Commander took a moment to blow his nose.  ”I want you to take charge and I’ll have Sergeant-detective Roy Marchand report to you tomorrow.  He’s still not back from Ontario.  Do you have the Branson’s address?”

”Yes sir.  I’m on my way.”  Julian stumbled out of bed and reached into his closet for a grey business suit.  As he quickly dressed, he thought of Louise, so regal and vibrant.  Chantal would be devastated.  He would call her straightaway before the media wolves descended on her.  He could hear her fumbling with the phone, then her voice thick with sleep.  ”Who is it?”

”Chantal, dearest, I’ve got some very bad news.”

”Oh, God, Julian, I just know it’s about Louise.  Is she sick?”

”Darling, it’s worse than that.”  Julian didn’t know any way to sugar coat what he was about to say.  ”Louise is dead.”  He waited for the convulsive sobbing to stop.  ”Oh, my God, Julian, I had a feeling last night that something terrible might happen.  How did she die?”

Again Julian thought it best to give it to her straight.  ”She was murdered in her home.”


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